3 Feb 2015

More tuna should be allocated to Pacific - study

7:11 am on 3 February 2015

Pacific governments are being urged to allocate a larger amount of tuna stock for local consumption to help address public health problems in the region.

Frozen albacore tuna offloaded in Lami, Fiji

Frozen albacore tuna offloaded in Lami, Fiji Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

A study published in the journal, Marine Policy, found that people in the region will need 268,000 tonnes of fish per year for food security by 2020, increasing to 344,000 tonnes by 2035.

Current total fish consumption is around 210,000 tonnes per year.

The lead author of the study, Johann Bell, of Wollongong University, says more tuna in the Pacific diet could help prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.

"So the plea really is for national governments to look at their tuna resources and try to diversify the way in which they are used. Because yes they are tremendously important for government revenue but they have a very important role to play going forward in local nutrition."

Johann Bell says allowing local fishers to use more Fish Agregation Devices close to shore would help.